Start Sailing Now: Steve Young

Meet Steve Young, a new sailor turned avid racer. Tell us about how you got into sailing.web1 Having grown up on the lakes in northern Minnesota, I had powerboating experience, but I had never had the opportunity to sail. In the summer of 2013, I was 41 years old and living in Baltimore. I saw that the Baltimore Social League (BSL) offered sailing and no experience was needed, so I signed up. After my first day of racing, I was hooked. I joined the Downtown Sailing Center (DSC) for racing, recreational sailing, and some weekend cruises. I’ve found that I really enjoy the teamwork, focus, problem solving, and improvising required for racing. What has been your sailing experience thus far and what are your future plans? In 2014, I became a J/22 skipper and raced at DSC on Thursdays. Wednesdays and Fridays I raced on a J/105 in Annapolis, and on Tuesdays I crewed on a Baltic 35 at the Baltimore City Yacht Association. In addition, I did weekend regattas whenever I could. With other new sailors from BSL, I formed a DSC J/22 race team. Sailing nearly every day during the summer of 2014, I logged more than 86 days. I had hoped to make it into SpinSheet’s Century Club, but I was just a little shy of 100 days on the water. In the near future, my plans include a charter in the British Virgin Islands with the group that formed the DSC race team. Long term, I’d like to do an offshore distance race, such as the Annapolis to Newport Race. Did you take any formal classes? Yes. I did the basic keelboat challenge course and a basic cruising course at the DSC. In Annapolis, I took courses on coastal navigation and celestial navigation. I’ve also taken a racing strategy and tactics course, which I’d like to take again, now that I have more experience. Did you have any preconceived notions about sailing that proved true or untrue? For me, the learning curve was not as steep as I thought it would be. Because of my experience as an Aeroscout Observer in the 82nd Airborne Division, I was able to translate a lot of my aviation skills into sailing. I don’t want to give the impression that sailing is easy; if you ever stop learning, you should probably stop sailing. But getting started wasn’t asintimidating as I had imagined. If someone were interested in learning to sail, what would you tell them? Go! Now! What are you waiting for? All you need is the desire to try. I wish I’d started years earlier. For more ideas on how to get involved sailing, check out